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DEVICE, LETHARGY. THE TREATMENT, MILLION DOLLAR RELOAD
Underworld, London 24 February 2011
In my A
level Economics classes, I was always told there is no such thing as a
free lunch, but what about a free gig? Well, in an imaginative gesture
to kick start the fledgling careers of four of their hopefuls, Powerage
Records, Classic Rock magazine's record label venture, put them on a
nationwide tour with the punters only needing to stump up beer money.
Part of the reason for this initiative is that I imagine it is harder
for new bands to attract attention in a genre such as classic rock, with
a predominantly older audience following long-established bands.
London show was well attended with the Underworld at one stage about
three-quarters full, although many seemed to be friends and family there
for one band.
It was a
showcase style gig with each of the three opening bands only given half
an hour to impress. First up were Irishmen Million Dollar Reload,
with the sleazy look and style of an early Guns N Roses or LA Guns.
Initially I was rather put off by the overly harsh tones of spiky haired
singer Phil who seemed to be straining too hard, but once he settled I
warmed to an increasingly catchy set of tunes such as Living in the
City, Tattoos and Dirty Girls and Goodnight New York.
this type of music also sounds more authentic coming from some young
hungry upstarts than recovering coke addicts, addled, middle-aged former
LA pretty boys.
Treatment followed, the latest brainchild of Airrace guitarist
Laurie Mansworth, with his son Dhani on drums. In common with
predecessors Hurricane Party (later Roadstar and Heavens Basement) at
the same stage of their career, for a bunch of teenagers they have an
impressive self-confidence and all the right metal stage moves and
poses. However, they are also a full on classic rock band inspired by
the seminal sounds of the seventies.
conjured up in my mind the spirit of the classic Montrose debut, notably
on The Doctor, Shake the Mountain and the 'Make it last'-style
introduction to just Tell Me Why. Nothing to Lose but our Minds, with a
chorus that could have come from David Bowie in his early 70's phase,
showed that they do not need to play it by the book. A stunning
introduction to a real band to watch.
Unfortunately, Welshmen Lethargy followed in front of a
significantly thinner crowd (surely not everyone had come to see the
pneumatic nurse who was staffing The Treatment's merchandise stand!)
musical style, darker and less commercial, owes more to nineties bands
such as Alice in Chains, and has never been my bag. However friends were
purring in appreciation and I found myself enjoying and admiring the
lank-haired Welshmen significantly more than the previous time I saw
them a couple of years ago.
some very Zakk Wylde-esque dirty guitar sounds and an impressive use of
three lead and harmony vocals gave them a slightly different dimension.
If your tastes are in a more alternative direction, I would recommend
them, and I could see them going down very well at a Download or
At first I
was underwhelmed by headliners New Device - it wasn't just singer
Daniel Leigh's un-metal haircut, but the songs such as Never Say Never
and Set You on Fire seemed very basic and the sound rather thin,
particularly as alone of the four bands they boasted just a single
the ultimate cliché with a song called Pedal to the Metal, but, even if
it may have been the beer talking, as the set wore on I warmed to them.
an engaging, hard working frontman (though if I had a pound for every
time he said 'Ladies and Gentlemen...') and the band were enthusiastic
with Motley Crue inspired songs like the closing trio of Seven nights,
Seven Bodies, Hope is Not Enough and Taking Over ultimately impressing.
There was a
real surprise as the two encores, with Daniel adding acoustic guitar,
showed a greater mellowness and depth - in particular during In the
Fading Light it felt as if I had been transplanted into a Firefest gig.
unexpectedly great evening with four bands representing a diversity of
hard rock genres, but each giving 100%. It can have done each of the
bands no harm and hopefully it gave them all a shot in the arm.
But if I was
playing fantasy A and R, of all of them the Treatment are the band most
likely to crack the big time.
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